“If someone asks you how to write your name, would you bark out each letter? And if they get angry, would you then return the anger? Wouldn’t you rather gently spell out each letter for them? So then, remember in life that your duties are the sum of individual acts. Pay attention to each of these as you do your duty . . . just methodically complete your task.”—MARCUS AURELIUS
I need not tell you that life is inherently hard. It’s hard to maintain relationships, earn money, raise a kid, take care of elders and there are so many things one has to do that can’t be avoided and changed. But when it is already hard, we need to make sure that we are not making it harder than it already is.
Why do we make things harder?
1. Thriving on drama
How many times do you feel bored when nothing exciting is happening in life? When things are in general good and peaceful but you are miserable. I know many people who feel like that and I am also like that from time to time.
As a basic human nature, we do thrive on drama. Of course, you would have heard the phrase ‘What next in life?’ from one or the other person whenever you feel settled in life. As soon as you reach somewhere complacent you will soon start to feel bored there and strive to reach somewhere else now.
Most of these issues can be solved if we decide to tackle our issues head-on. But we build various stories and excuses to cover the real problem rather than dealing with it.
We build so many reasons to not do the task right now. It is too tough, it will take too much time or I will do it after I do another ten unimportant things. Postponing important activities for later just builds up a huge mountain of tasks that is much harder to deal with than the initial task.
How to make things easier?
1. If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now
There are so many tasks, which can be finished in just 5 minutes. Making up your bed, cleaning your table, watering the plants, putting out garbage, and others. So, make it rule of thumb to do these 5-minute tasks as soon as it pops up in your mind. This way you will be able to finish a major chunk of your tasks without having to allot a set time for it.
2. Set the highlight
Have you also created a to-do list only with tons of items on it? You finish them and cross them out to get a temporary high of getting things done. But actually, you are actually doing only meager tasks, and at the end of the day when you evaluate, you haven’t progressed anywhere even though you were busy the whole day. Does it sound like you?
One of the best ways to deal with it to decide the highlight of the day. The most important and critical task that when done you will feel that the day is done. Now one might feel that there are so many important tasks that need to be done. It’s ok you can do those too, but focus most on getting your highlight done. If you tackle at least 1 important task a day then you will soon feel you never have an unproductive day.
3. Live slowly
Now, this is the most important suggestion that I can give to you. I have been a productive junkie for so long. Switching between tasks, trying to squeeze all the things in a day, and not able to sit still, were my common characteristics. But recently I had a huge burnout due to this. And that’s when I realized that I need to take things slow.
Live in the moment. Try to do only one thing at a time and do it with all your heart. Consider it the best task you can ever do and finish it with diligence before moving to the next task. Be thankful for the small things around you, take time to notice the sound, smell, and touch of the things. Use your senses and be grateful for things. You will soon feel that life is not that hard this way and you have all in you to go through it.